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Heritage House Publishing Fall 2023

The Premier and His Grandmother
Peter Lougheed, Lady Belle, and the Legacy of Métis Identity
By (author): Doris Jeanne MacKinnon
Doris Jeanne MacKinnon


Heritage House - Victoria



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Flaps
Oct 17, 2023
$32.95 CAD


8.5in x 5.5 in

Page Count:

320 pages


b&w photographs
Heritage House
HISTORY / Canada / Provincial, Territorial & Local / Prairie Provinces
Biography: historical, political and military|Cross-cultural / Intercultural studies and topics|Indigenous peoples|Political leaders and leadership|Indigenous people: governance and politics|Political activism / Political engagement|Social and cultural history
An intriguing look at the connections between Alberta premier Peter Lougheed and his Métis grandmother, Isabella Clarke Hardisty Lougheed, exploring how Métis identity, political activism, and colonial institutional power shaped the lives and legacies of both.

Combining the approaches of political biography and historical narrative, The Premier and His Grandmother introduces readers to two compelling and complex public figures. Born into a prominent fur trading family, Isabella Clarke Hardisty Lougheed (1861–1936) established a distinct role for herself as an influential Métis woman in southern Alberta, at a time when racial boundaries in the province were hardening and Métis activists established a firm foundation for the Métis to be recognized as distinct Indigenous Peoples.

Isabella’s grandson Edgar Peter Lougheed (1928–2021) served as premier of Alberta at a time when some of that activism achieved both successes and losses. Drawing on Peter Lougheed’s personal papers, family interviews, and archival research, this book analyzes his political initiatives in the context of his own identity as a person of Métis ancestry. While there are several publications that refer to Peter Lougheed in the context of his role as premier, few of those publications have acknowledged his connection to an important Métis pioneer family and his connection to his Indigenous ancestors.

  • The author has written extensively on historical Métis women and is a respected academic in Indigenous and Métis history. Her previous books, published by academic presses, include The Identities of Marie Rose Delorme Smith: Portrait of a Métis Woman (University of Regina Press, 2012, Finalist Saskatchewan Book Awards “Publishing in Education”), Métis Pioneers: Marie Rose Delorme Smith and Isabella Hardisty Lougheed (University of Alberta Press, 2018, Finalist Alberta Book Publishers Awards “Scholarly and Academic”), Métis Matriarchs: Agents of Transition, (co-ed., with Cheryl Troupe, University of Regina Press, sent to press 2022).
  • This book is unique in the sense that it informs readers about the Indigenous ancestry of Alberta’s tenth premier, Peter Lougheed. He remains a very respected and popular former leader and many Canadians are not aware of his Indigenous ancestry.
  • There has only been one biography of Peter Lougheed, and other books which have explored his political history. However, no books have explored his personal ancestry and his political history in relation to Indigenous activism.
  • The manuscript has been reviewed and vetted by Metis academic Sharon Anne Pasula (Metis Nation of Alberta, Region 4), as well as Joe Lougheed (son of Peter Lougheed).
  • The late Honourable Peter Lougheed P.C., C.C., K.C., is a well-known and respected leader in Alberta, with numerous public sites named after him, including a Provincial park, hospital, and community centre. He was named a member of the Privy Council of Canada in 1982 by the Queen, appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1987, and inducted into the Alberta Order of Excellence in 1989.
  • The book will appeal to general audiences interested in learning more about Indigenous leaders, local politics, and Prairie history, but it will also be of use in undergraduate post-secondary classes and Canadian history classes at the senior high school level.

Doris Jeanne MacKinnon was born on a farm in northeastern Alberta and attended school in the historic town of St-Paul-dés-Métis. She holds a PhD in Indigenous and post-Confederation Canadian history. An independent researcher, author, and post-secondary instructor, she lives in Central Alberta. Her publications focus on Western Canadian topics that expand readers’ understanding of our diverse people and experiences. Her books are written in an engaging style that appeals to a broad cross-section of the population.


  • Pitches to print, online, and broadcast media nationally and regionally, including: CBC Daybreak Alberta & CBC Indigenous; National Post; Globe & Mail; Maclean’s; Global News Alberta; CTV Alberta; APTN; City News Calgary; Calgary Herald; Edmonton Journal; Windspeaker; Muskrat Magazine, Canada’s First Nation Radio, Labour/Le Travail; The Albertan; Alberta’s History; Prairie Books NOW; Media Indigena podcast; Talks With a Fox podcast; etc.
  • Advanced interest from Alberta Views, Alberta's History, and Prairie Books NOW.
  • Subject-specific outreach (politics, Indigenous) for print features, excerpts, interviews, and review coverage, including: National Observer; Alberta Politics; IndigiNews; Rabble.ca; Briarpatch magazine; Literary Review of Canada; This Magazine; Decomplicated; Chinook: The Journal of the Alberta Family Histories Society; etc.
  • Outreach to subject-specific organizations (politics, Indigenous, local history), such as: Alberta Métis Historical Society; Alberta Historical Society; Alberta Family Histories Society; Alberta's Historical Places—RETROactive blog; Virtual Museum for Métis History and Culture; Gabriel Dumon Institute; etc.
  • Award submission to relevant book prizes, including Alberta Literary Awards, Governor General's Literary Awards, Canadian Historical Association awards, High Plains Book Awards, etc.
  • Advertising in select print outlets.
  • Online promotion through social media campaigns, advertising and influencer outreach.
  • Publicity and promotion in conjunction with author's speaking engagements.
  • Electronic ARCs.


  • Marilyn Lizee (consultant for the Métis Nation of Alberta, co-editor of Stories of Metis Women: Tales My Kookum Told Me)
  • Jean Teillet (Métis lawyer and author of The North-west is our Mother: The Story of Louis Riel's People, the Métis Nation)
  • Alison Redford, ECA KC (Canadian lawyer and former politician. She was the 14th premier of Alberta, having served in this capacity from October 7, 2011, to March 23, 2014.)
  • Chelsea Vowel, often writes as âpihtawikosisân (Métis writer and lawyer from near Lac Ste. Anne, Alberta. Author of Indigenous Writes and Buffalo is the New Buffalo)
  • Rachelle Venne (CEO, Esquao, Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women)


    • Digital collateral (social media banners, quote nuggets)
    • Electronic blad / sampler
    • Electronic ARC
    • Video interview
    • Online banner
    • Press release
    • Book trailer

    For more information contact
    [email protected]

    "A fascinating look into our family’s Métis heritage and how it may have impacted my father’s time in public office. As a signatory to the Constitution Act, 1982, my father as premier agreed to the addition of Section 35 in the Constitution of Canada, recognizing and affirming Aboriginal and Treaty Rights and extending the definition of ‘Aboriginal Peoples of Canada’ to include the Métis People of Canada. Privately proud of his heritage, he was, as the Métis Nation of Alberta has often stated, a Métis 'hiding in plain sight.'"

    —Joe Lougheed, son of Peter Lougheed

    “A scholarly work revealing the perseverance and resilience of members of the Lougheed family, who transitioned from a traditional lifestyle and worldview and adapted to a fast-paced, chaotic, and often racist environment. Little-known details are enlightening and contribute to a foundational understanding about Indigenous Peoples that can open the door to reconciliation. A must-read for Indigenous studies.”
    —Sharon Anne Pasula, Urban Cultural, Educational and Spiritual Resource Person, and former Vice President Region IV, Metis Nation of Alberta

    “A fascinating read that tells the story of the adaptability of the Métis and our history during the fur trade and life thereafter. The Lougheeds became a powerful Métis family, and this book speaks to their strength and resilience. I would highly recommend The Premier and His Grandmother!
    —Marilyn Lizee, consultant for the Métis Nation of Alberta, co-editor of Stories of Métis Women: Tales My Kookum Told Me

    “As Canadians continue to seek out a better understanding of our country, we must honestly reflect on our past to understand what has made us who we are today. To truly appreciate how people have contributed to Canada as we know it today, we must be prepared to understand our leaders differently today than they were at the time. While we are beginning to honour and celebrate Indigenous heritage in Alberta, that was not always the case. This little-known part of Lougheed family history confronts the fact that we have not celebrated Indigenous history and this excellent research helps us to understand one further aspect of the true history of Alberta and the important life of one Métis woman. It reminds us that we continue to honour an incomplete history of Alberta to our detriment.”
    —Honourable Alison M. Redford, KC, ICD.D., fourteenth Premier of Alberta

    The Premier and His Grandmother is a unique look into the cultural and historic heritage of one of Alberta’s most iconic premiers, Peter Lougheed. It is an important contribution to the canon of Métis history in Alberta and highlights the complex nature of identity and belonging, while honouring the work of our Métis matriarchs.”
    —Bailey Oster, co-editor of Stories of Métis Women: Tales My Kookum Told Me

    “Doris MacKinnon has skillfully linked the story of former Alberta premier, Peter Lougheed, with that of his grandmother, Isabella Clark Hardisty Lougheed. MacKinnon’s book is thoroughly researched , especially when highlighting the history of the Métis in Alberta, an area of Western Canadian history much in need of further research.”
    —Greg N. Fraser, author of Joseph William McKay: A Métis Business Leader in Colonial British Columbia


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